I am no longer blogging here at Little Nuances, but I would love for you to join me on my author website www.leewarren.info.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Tale of Two Kansas Cities

My GPS insisted I take Highway 54 out of Tucumcari, New Mexico on Sunday afternoon as I headed home from the writer's conference I told you about the other day. Problem is, I'm an interstate guy.

I like not having to pass people on two lane highways. I like not having to think about drivers ride my back bumper because they want to exceed the speed limit. I like not having to worry about traffic pulling up onto the highway from a gravel road or a neighborhood located just 50 feet away.

But Garmina (yes, my GPS is a Garmin and yes, I call her Garmina) didn't care about any of that. She wanted to get me home sooner, so I obliged. I traveled Highway 54 from Tucumcari all the way into Liberal, Kansas by the end of the day. The next day, I think I figured out why Garmina wanted me off the beaten path.

She took me through two towns I wouldn't ordinarily travel through and they both gave me a little treat.

Meade, Kansas

IMG00386-20101115-0957In Meade, I pulled up to a stop light. I turned to my left and there sat a small town café. On the window someone wrote "Happy 57th Chester & Phyllis." You probably can't see the little tag line in the picture that says, " … and they said it wouldn't last … guess you showed them!!"

Imagine driving by a Denny's in your nearest big city and seeing such a sign on one of the windows. It wouldn't mean anything because the chances of knowing the subjects seems slim. But in a town like Meade, I'm guessing many or most people know Chester and Phyllis. And their anniversary is a big deal as a result.

I like the fact that the window doesn't say, "Happy birthday Faith Hill!!" While she might appreciate the effort if her tour bus traveled through the city enroot to a concert nearby, I bet Chester and Phyllis appreciated it more.

The only thing that bums me out about the little café is the "For Sale" sign in the window. I'm hoping the place doesn't shut down. This world needs more small town cafes.

Great Bend, Kansas

IMG00387-20101115-1210A couple of hours later, Garmina told me to take Highway 56. That led me to a town in the middle of Kansas called Great Bend. The first thing I saw as I entered the city limits was an old fashioned "Merry Christmas" banner stretched all the way across the highway.

I'm not one of those Christians who rails against our culture for wanting to secularize Christmas. We live in a post modern era in which large segments of the citizenry are two or three generations removed from the church. Why would they want to celebrate a holiday like Christmas in the same fashion as someone who is a follower of Christ?

At the same time, when I find pockets of people – apparently like the people who live in Great Bend – who do want to celebrate it in the fashion I do, it gives me an instant connection with them.

I did a search about Christmas in Great Bend and I found the Trail of Lights website. It made me want to celebrate Christmas there with them. If it turned out to be anything like it is advertised, it would be the perfect setting to write a Christmas novella.

Thanks Garmina for giving me two great experiences I would have missed if I would have chosen to ignore you and barrel up Interstate 35 instead.


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